What might entice you to use e-books or e-readers like Kindle?

    by Mark Glaser
    January 28, 2008

    It seems like every few years a new e-book device comes out that promises to revolutionize our reading experience, hoping we’ll throw out our book collection and read everything electronically. Recently, the Sony Reader and Amazon Kindle have been the contenders in e-books, but many people complain that they are not open enough for different types of books and that nothing can really replace the printed word on paper — for portability and ease of use. So what would entice you to give e-books a try? Cheaper books, better interfaces, less environmental impact? What features would you want in an e-book? Or if you’ve already been won over, tell us what you like about your Kindle or other e-book reader device. I’ll run the best comments in a future Your Take Roundup post.

    Tagged: books comments new media
    • Jim

      Sleeker hardware. Better design. Larger reading surface. Thinner. More portable. Cheaper content.
      Cheaper unit price. Ability to load your own stuff. Word processing.

    • If all of the books I needed for class were available that way, and the books were enough less than the printed copy to cover the reading device and still leave me with extra $$$ in my pocket, versus the printed version, I’d go for it. This semester I spent about $400 on printed books.

    • I already use two ebook readers and get all the functionality of Kindle in my mobile phone Mobipocket software is multi-platform and I have been using it since I used to have a Palm V device. I now use it on my Nokia E90 Communicator. I get most of my books pre-encoded from Blackmask.net (mostly public domain classics and pulp fiction). I also use the mobile version of bloglines as my RSS reader, my account currently has about 330 feeds in it, but thats constantly going up and down as I chop old feeds and bring in new ones.

      I used Adobe Acrobat to read some books releases under CC licence such as the works of Lawrence Lessig and academic papers.

      For proprietary content I find it cheaper to get secondhand or discounted books via Amazon’s Marketplace service.

      Kindle would need to be 10 times better than my current solution for me to choose it, cheaper, easier to read, more flexible than my current device. That’s a tall order, I know.

    • Timothy Nott

      Kindle is too ugly to be seen with.

      Sony’s is too expensive.

      I need a solution that is rugged and can do more than one thing. For a couple hundred bucks, I want to be able to do more than save a couple trees. The technology has to be BETTER than paper, not nearly as good. I need to be able to take notes/write responses, send those notes to someone, check references online, build derivative work. A handheld is oh-so-close to what I want, but the screens are too small.

      I opted to try out the OLPC. It is supposed to ship the first week of March. Worst case scenario, it’ll go fast on Ebay and I’ve made a donation to a good cause. Hopefully those kids get their laptops faster than I will.

    • Drew

      I would like the same flexibility for a reader that I have with an MP3 player. I know that I can get any new content in MP3 and I can easily convert my current content into MP3, no matter how obscure or unpopular it is.
      For reading, I’m dependent on someone else deciding what gets converted so some periodicals, some books, some newspapers become available but not necessarily the ones I want. For me it would be the worst of all worlds–I’d have to carry a reader AND printed reading, all while I’m probably also toting a laptop. One of those has to go and it’s the reader.

    • avagee

      I have been reading novels on my regular ‘dumb’ cell phone for a while. at the moment it’s all been public domain and creative commons stuff from http://www.booksinmyphone For me the phone is perfect for that kind of ‘low format’ content – it’s more portable than Kindle or a paper book.

      What’s missing for me is something for newspapers, academic papers, and magazines. I think that means larger full color ePaper that can fold or roll-up.

    • How about a device that offers more than simply the print book in electronic format? I’m talking about a major overhaul to how books are written, but one that would result in a better layering of content, particularly for reference material. This is more than simply embedding links to other sources; it’s really about tapping into the platform and creating a product and content repository that has social networking capabilities. Again, it’s more than just a port from print to e-book and probably way out there on the time line.

    • kayrun

      As an eBook publisher/writer, we have a definite need for an eBook reader that is very similar to a book, with large reading screens, but which allows bookmarking, note taking, and eMail. Obviously, it should allow downloading and storage for flexibility and scheduling. It should be possible to port the info (with notes, etc.) to a regular computer. It should be thin, lightweight, open like a book with a screen on each side. Think iPhone for moving things around and adding text (or maybe voice activated). It should be comfortable to support with one hand and read from it in the traditional reading position. If the developers will give us the hardware, watch eBooks (with video and audio) take off. We will then really start saving trees and time! We will also be better able to organize and retrieve our knowledge.

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